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The Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor has been a stern critic of the Isle of Man, calling us a haven for tax dodgers. He also demanded that the Isle of Man be closed as a ‘tax haven’ and for banks receiving investment from the UK Government to shut offshore operations.

Despite that he accepted an invitation from the Isle of Man branch of the Institute of Directors to address our annual dinner last Saturday and as part of his visit the IoD were pleased to arrange for Dr Cable to meet with the Chief Minister, Finance Minister and other senior politicians, civil servants, banking and business representatives.

The dinner took place at the Mount Murray Hotel & Country Club and was organised on behalf of the IoD by the Isle of Man Sporting & Dining Club with the generous sponsorship of HSBC bank.

After dinner it fell to me as the Treasurer of the Isle of Man branch of the IoD to give a speech of welcome to Dr Cable who then spoke at length on the current economic crisis facing the world. He then invited questions from the floor or which there were many ranging over a wide area of concerns. However as you may imagine he was put on the spot over his previous comments on the Isle of Man and Dr Cable was honest enough to say that he had learnt a lot from his visit and now realised that there was more to the Isle of Man than he had realised. Further he undertook to stay in touch with politicians and others on the island and to press the case for investors in the Isle of Man branch of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander who were caught up in the recent debacle when the UK Treasury froze funds of the Icelandic banks UK subsidiary who held funds belonging to the Isle of Man bank.

We shall see. I do believe that Vince Cable, who many believe might feature in the cabinet of the next UK government if there is a hung parliament, now has revised his opinion of this island and our place in the British, European and world economy.

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